Purpose: The purpose of this initiative is to craft strategies for strengthening the predominantly black congregations of the Texas Annual Conference.
AACI: Transitioning Toward the Future requires us to address the challenges of emerging and diverse, urban and rural communities in the Texas Annual Conference. This strategy includes broader scopes than historical African American congregations. We recognize that the greatest concentration of African American congregations is in urban areas, but this process will work with every African American congregation that wishes to engage—current churches and churches into the future. This strategy initiative is designed to meet the transitions that have occurred in our communities’ challenges of today.
Rationale: To address the changing dynamics within the present communities of faith that will empower & enable them to be vital congregations in their mission fields.
Disciplinary Statements: 2016 Book of Discipline, Part VI: Organization and Administration, Section IV: Churches in Transitional Communities
¶ 212. Since many of the communities in which the local church is located are experiencing transition, special attention must be given to forms of ministry required in such communities. The local church is required to respond to the changes that are occurring in its surrounding community and to organize its mission and ministry accordingly. (See points 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 following)
¶ 213. A Process for Assessment of Local Church Potential—Since every congregation is located in a community in some type of transition, every local church is encouraged to study their congregation’s potential. Upon the request of the congregation the district superintendent shall appoint a study task force to assist in an extensive study of the past, present, and potential ministry of that local church. Alternatively, the district superintendent may appoint such a task force when the future viability of the congregation is in question or whenever he/she deems it necessary for other reasons. The task force shall be composed of an equal number of lay and clergypersons and shall include persons from that congregation. (See points 1, 2, 3 following)
Implementation: Through a process of consultation and collaboration, congregations will be invited to participate in this process, which yields a framework and opportunity for vibrancy; outcomes that lead to health and vitality in the local church.